Music To Write To

January 19, 2013 at 12:42 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

writing-and-musicEvery writer has their zone, and sometimes the zone changes.  Due to the nature of my sucky laptop, I’m prone to laying prostrate across the floor so I can pile things on the charger to make it stay plugged.  Currently, said pile consists of my husband’s bible, my journal, whatever book I happen to be reading, and a Noah’s Ark statue of my daughter’s.

It’s not a comfortable way to write, but I’ve made it work… with music.

Nothing reminds you of college like being too poor to buy yourself new tech gadgets, laying on the floor writing half the day, and eating sandwiches off chipped plates while laying and writing.  So, when writing this way, what other music would I listen to than the artists of my so-called youth?

I bought this album as a wide-eyed freshman in college.

I bought this album as a wide-eyed freshman in college.

David Ramirez, Tito Ortega, and Christine Hand were all musicians that filled my college years.  (Select any of those links to check out their music on  All former students of the university I attended, they often performed in the coffee shop downstairs from my dorm room.  That coffee shop was where I journaled, talked, did homework, came up with story ideas, avoided homework, made friends, hung out with friends, and inhaled a whole lot of sugar and caffeine.  And it’s where I fell in love with these artists and their wonderful contribution to the musical world.  I’ll take them with me everywhere forever.

That’s a long term commitment as far as music loving goes.  As a moody listener, there are a lot of musicians I’ve outgrown over the years.  Some songs just aren’t the same when you’re not twelve, or eighteen, or a newly wed, or whatever it was you were when you were in love with something that just can’t move you anymore.

Girl on a String

Click here to download from iTunes.

Christine Hand will grow with you though.  At least, she grows with me.  We’re roughly the same age, went to the same university for awhile, have liked the same guy, and though we’re in no way the same, I feel like whatever music she has out that’s ‘new’ in the moment, always falls in line with my own existence.  Her latest album has a beautiful maturity that I hope I’ve reached.  It definitely puts me in the mood to strive to write with that same beautiful maturity.

In addition to Christine’s own songs, there is a Bob Dylan cover on Girl on a String.  Who doesn’t like Bob Dylan? And who doesn’t like hearing his songs performed well?  This album can feel comfortable sitting on your shelf with the likes of Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell, and like John Mayer at the Crossroads concert playing with the likes of B.B. King and Eric Clapton, you’ll be impressed with how well she fits right in and holds her own with the greats.

dallas does eaglesChristine Hand plays along side her husband, my friend, Adam Jones, and her father.  The dynamic is pretty neat, but I’m a sucker for family bands, as you’ll see if you ever check out my cd collection from the ’90s where I thought Rebecca St. James was the coolest for bringing her brother on tour with her and I was distraught to discover that the White Stripes weren’t married anymore.  I’m also a long time fan of The Jackson 5 and a completely head over heels for the fact that Nine Inch Nails moved on to become How To Destroy Angels, only to include Trent Reznor’s wife.

Check out Christine’s website here:

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Archie Rocks Acoustic, Totally Rocked Half Price Books

April 21, 2012 at 5:26 am (Events, Interviews) (, , , , , , )

Booking musicians to serenade customers at a bookstore has been pretty fun so far.  Sure, it has ups and downs… a great musician, a no show musician, a nice musician, a quirky musician… but tonight it was all UP!  Archie Parks had the tips flowing, the book buying happening, and customers tapping their toes while they shopped LP’s, and applauding from the DVD aisles.  A couple came to find me to ask if he had cd’s for sale and why not.  So after the show, I took some time to pour over the calendar with him and conduct an interview for my blog.

Who are your biggest influences?

Bush, Gavin Rossdale, Cobain.  That dude from Seether, I can’t think of his name right now, but I’d know it when I see it.  90’s Grunge music mostly, you know STP.  I could go all day… Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Shoe.

When did you start playing and why?

Jr. High.  My Dad had a guitar and a friend had a drum set.  Started writing our own songs because if we messed up nobody knew.  And then it snowballed.  So I guess the answer is boredom.

Where else are booked to play?

I’m trying to set up a show at Bohemeos.  It’s real chill there.

What made you decide playing in a bookstore would be right for you?

It’s chill.  My new style is perfect for a chilling bookstore.

Since we’re in a bookstore, who are your favorite authors?

Asimov, he’s the shit.  Herbert, I love science fiction, obviously.  I heard a new Dark Tower came out, Stephen King, but not Stephen King, I like  his alter ego Bachman.  But Asimov is number one.  I love robots, man.  And those dudes that came out with new Dune books, they weren’t Herbert, but they were still pretty sweet.  And I’m into Eastern Philosophy.  But it’s fucking lame.  I’m into it, but not to be a hipster.

Do you read much? Does your reading affect your lyric writing?

No, I don’t read much. It doesn’t affect my writing.  What does is school, I’m taking Creative Works.

What messages do you wish to convey through your music?

My number one theme is love.  I sing about it all the time because I love the ladies.  But my goal is to help people find the right path for them.  That’s why I like Eastern Philosophy and I’m not a hipster.  Help people find themselves, and feel stuff.

When do you think you’ll have cds or downloadable songs ready for sale?

I have enough material for a seven track album.  But I’m leery, I need moral support because I don’t want to rip people off just selling me and a guitar.  I have higher standards.  I don’t want to put my name on crap.

At which point, I had to tell him that I thought the idea of a cd with just him on a guitar wouldn’t be a rip off at all, it would actually be quite lovely.  He’s very humble, but not in a self degrading well.  He was genuinely pleased and surprised that customers were interested in buying his music if it was available.

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